Arts

Culture and Heritage Alliance hosts NC Wakanda Gala May 15

10 Yolanda Burse artist WakandaThe Culture and Heritage Alliance will host the “NC Wakanda Gala” on May 15 from 6-10 p.m. at the Volta Space downtown, which is located at 116 Person St.

The event will feature a variety of art, music, dancing and more. Attendees are encouraged to wear their “Wakanda” themed or African outfits.

“We are having fun with it,” said Kelly, the vice president for the Culture and Heritage Alliance. “There will be three artists there, we’ll have African drums, dancing, local artists, there will be African food. The Gala will feature artists like Matthew Mercer, Kognoscenti, Yolanda Burse amongst others.”

Drinks and mingling will begin at 6 p.m., and customers will be served African hors d'oeuvres.

Mercer, an artist who specializes in comic books, will be offering some “Black Panther” artwork for viewing and purchase.

The Gala will observe COVID precautions, allowing up to 75 people, and temperatures will be taken at the door.

“The Alliance promotes peace, culture in our community and all of North Carolina,” Kelly said. “We promote dance performances, culture exhibitions, storytelling to inform others of the customs, culture and traditions of all indigenous people and that’s native American, Latino, African and so much more.”

Located at 105 Person St., the Alliance started 15 years ago and hosts events like the African World Peace Festival, the NC African Film Festival, Salsa & Swing Nights, Celebration of African Culture and workshops throughout the year.

The Salsa & Swing event is free to the public, happening every Tuesday night at 7 p.m. at the Volta Space. Donations are welcome and go towards the Heritage and Culture Alliance, Kelly mentioned.

“People don’t know how much diversity is in our area, so we bring that forth and bring that out, people can see that there is diversity,” she said.

“Everyone loves African art, but where can you get it? Is it online but you can talk to us and we’ll find someone for you.”

Tickets prices for the “NC Wakanda Gala” are $25 single and $40 for a couple and can be purchased at www.eventbrite.com/e/nc-wakanda-gala-culture-heritage-alliance-tickets-151006994987?aff=efbeventtix&fbclid=IwAR30FZbXELJKNcg6UH4oft8FW--9LID5GZ38FEtySbtAv3aRrAXcED6AzYw

To learn more about the Alliance, visit www.cultureandhertiagealliance.org

Pictured Above: The Gala feature works by artists Yolanda Burse (above) and Mathew Mercer, who will dislay "Black Panther" themed works. (Photos Courtesy the Culture and Hertiage Alliance). 

Artists combine traditional, new print techniques to bring works 'Off the Wall' for new Gallery 208 exhibition

10 Close up New Kelp Cityi by Skylor SwannThe process of duplicating images goes back several thousand years to the Sumerians (c. 3000 B.C.), carving designs on
ceramic cylinders made of dried clay or stone, then rolling the cylinders over clay tablets to leave impressions. In lieu of clay tablets, the artists in Off the Wall: An Approach to the Print were asked to combine an illusionary printing process with, or as, a 3-dimensional form.

Off the Wall: An Approach to the Print opens May 4 at Gallery 208 in Fayetteville. Artists from various disciplines (photography, ceramics, printmaking, painting and the graphic arts) were asked to take the medium they usually work in, but successfully integrate 2-dimensional, reproductive print imagery with a 3-dimensional form.

One of the eight artists, Shane Booth, a professional photographer, has been exploring the cyanotype photograph for several years and decided to explore the cyanotype image as a sculptural form for the exhibit. Booth noted, “as a photographer I’m attracted to pattern, negative space and texture- visual texture, not the physical tactile. In thinking about how to integrate my latest cyanotypes of animals into a sculptural form, it was necessary to think about space in a very different way than I usually think about it.”

After experimenting with ways to create a sculptural form, Booth’s prints are rolled into cylinders as reliefs on the wall. The projected blue and white surface has cut-out shapes, that relate to the animal in some way, attached to the surface. Booth noted, “the result of rolling the print as a relief actually enhanced the character of each animal. The 3-dimensional photograph tells a better story to emphasize the whimsical aspects I want the viewer to see – even more than if they were framed and hanging on the wall framed behind glass.”

In comparison, ceramicist, and sculptor Skylor Swann, revisited an idea he had abandoned twenty years ago – how to integrate ceramic decals with his sculptural forms. As an undergraduate student studying ceramics at Southern Utah University, Swann briefly experimented with the process, but abandoned the idea to focus on and practice the sculptural form in clay.

Visitors to the gallery will see how the artist, years later, has integrated ceramic decals with his mature style of working with clay. “New Kelp City” is a stoneware sculpture combined with laser printed decals. Swann refers to his 22”x 23” x 10” sculpture in the round as “a type of fractal form, organic in nature, also a symbolic city scape or neighborhood emerges.” Swann refers to his architectural form as a “colony of skyscrapers.” The ceramic decals are fired into the glazed surface, silhouettes can be seen within the miniature images of office windows placed upwards along the tubular skyscrapers.

Artists Angela Stout and Beverly Henderson both practiced integrating their prints into folded forms using matboard and is exhibiting two early works, “Arbor Day” by Henderson, and “Torn” by Stout, to compare how both artists moved to permanent material for their final works. Henderson, a sculptor raised in Colorado, has always been fascinated by nature and the science of nature. Seeing “form first” Henderson stated, “my printed patterns from nature are natural combinations with the intricacy and repeating patterns of organic chemistry.” The original paper sculptures resulted in Henderson interfacing her printing her organic patterns on folded metal wall reliefs.

After bending matboard to create forms with hard edges, painter and printmaker Stout envisioned combining her images with curvilinear forms. As an artist, Stout sees the possibilities of light and illusion to create meaning in her work and is always inspired by the portrait as a subject.

After experimenting with malleable material, Stout stated: “the hard edges of the plane and the printed image did not evoke the emotion I wanted to convey, it became evident I needed to research material I could easily bend, and the material would hold its curvilinear shape. I purchased material rigid enough to go through the printing press but could become malleable with heat to support the expressive qualities of the portrait images. Material, image and form now have the potential to convey a feeling and evoke emotions.”

Artists Shani Lewis and Alfie Frederick collaborated on a work titled “Insert 2020.” A shadow box is filled with a collection of COVID-19 masks individually stamped with the letters of a different state and the number of people infected with the virus during March 2021. Both artists have an art background, yet their “non-art” career path influenced the sculpture.

Lewis, a graphics designer, left her art career and is enrolled in school to become a physical therapist. Frederick, with a background in printmaking and painting, is employed in the field of Geospatial Information. Lewis’ background in health services and Frederick’s career in statistical tracking influenced the direction of their work titled “Insert 2020.”

Both artists were asked how combining imagery and a 3-dimentional form influenced the way they could express themselves. Frederick quickly responded by saying, “I realized mixed media was another way to view ideas about the multiple print.” Both agreed, “in the mixed media sculpture they created, meaning in the work is more readily interpreted instead of an image illustrating the narrative image.”

Due to Jonathan Chestnut’s background in sculpture, digital arts, 3D printing and the laser printer, he effortlessly resolved the combination of image and form. In the sculpture titled “Fatherhood,” Chestnut combines stacked children’s building blocks with laser printed images. Depending on the viewpoint, the viewer will see a changing image on both sides of the form.

For the print element, Chestnut cut the individual blocks on a table saw, then using the laser printer, cut a letter from the alphabet on each block to create stamps he could use repeatedly.

Although juxtaposing image and the 3-dimensional form was not new to Chestnut, he said, “due to the challenge, I now have an inventory of lettered stamps to inspire
future works.”

Art educator Cornell Jones is a painter and mixed media artist. Inspired by Faith Ringgold and Pacita Abad, Jones’ resolved the challenge by silk-screening one graphic image of a female on pieces of fabric, each piece of fabric hangs from mounted wall hooks.

Jones creates an alternating rhythm between three images screened on a flat black background of muslin and six images screened onto hanging red fabric. His title, “An A and B Selection from the Choir,” invites interpretation and the symbolism of using black, red and white.

Jones stated he was “inspired by the works of assemblages of Faith Ringgold and Pacita Abad. My approach to making this work was to think of it as an assemblage and to present the print as an object. I thought about the content of the work as I decided on using fabric as my support.”

The unifier between the eight very different artists is a contemporary trend since modernism: artists continually alter their materials, techniques and processes. Off the Wall: An Approach to the Print is an exhibition that combines traditional and new print techniques with innovative ideas, printing on nontraditional surfaces and using digital technology to convey meaning. In contemporary art, there is no one way to make a work of art or establish what a work of art should be made from.

Visitors to Off the Wall: An Approach to the Print will not only see successful works of art, but they will also experience contemporary trends and theories in art since the early 20th century. There are no discernible features for what a work of art should look like or what it should be made from; instead, value is dependent upon a complex open-ended system of possibilities and a work of art, quite simply, is experienced.

The public reception for Off the Wall: An Approach to the Print is May 4 from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. and the exhibit will remain up until mid-July.

Gallery 208 is located at 208 Rowan St. in Fayetteville. Guests are asked to wear a mask at the reception. For information call 910-484-6200.

Local author brings financial awareness to children

06 HarmoneyMother, finance professional, and now an author — Crystal McLean is changing the scene by introducing a children’s book that talks about finances. Inspired by her daughter, she is here to change the “generational cycle” of children growing up not understanding finances.

City Center Gallery & Books will host a virtual meet and greet on their Facebook page with McLean March 25 at 6:15 p.m. to discuss her book
“Harmoney & the Empty Piggy Bank.” On March 27 at 1 p.m., there will be an in-person, socially-distanced book signing at the store on Hay Street in Fayetteville.

McLean is a graduate of Fayetteville State University. Starting off as a University of North Carolina at Pembroke student, she took some time off and worked in the finance industry. When she went back to school at FSU they had launched a new program in banking and finance, which was something McLean was passionate about. Now, having published a children’s books on finances, she is here to normalize the topic in a child-friendly way.

Growing up, McLean said she had very little knowledge about the subject of finances. “Growing up, finance was a very taboo topic. If you have it, you talk about it, but if you didn’t have it, you didn’t talk about it,” McLean said.

The frustrating part to her was in school the subject was not taught.

“It’s inevitable to have to pay bills, taxes, etc. If it’s not taught it sets them up for financial failure,” she said.

McLean decided to do something about it by publishing the book, “Harmoney & the Empty Piggy Bank.” The children’s book explains the principles of money, saving versus investing, budgeting, and more on a level that children can grasp. She wrote this because when she took her daughter, who was about seven at the time, to pick out finance books, there were none.

This book will provide parents an opportunity to bring up the topic of finances with their children. It explains money in a child-friendly story with pictures and with a language that kids will understand. McLean said she was inspired by two books: “Amber’s Magical Savings Box” by Rachel Hanible and “Wesley Learns to Invest” by
Prince Dykes.

McLean hopes that reading “Harmoney & the Empty Piggy Bank” will invite parents to bring up the topic with their kids. She wants readers to know that the next generation is watching what we are doing now, with everything, including the way we handle our finances. McLean wants parents to know that she would love for them to reach out about any questions they may have when exploring the world of finance with their children.

McLean wants people to know she is a woman on a mission to make a difference. Her book is available on Amazon and her website. For more information about the author and her book please visit her website, https://www.authorcrystalmclean.com/ or email, hello@authorcrystalmclean.com.

The doctors Morfesis: serving the community in arts and sciences

01 01 12004710 10156267691740107 1215836511497132668 nAndrew and Gail Morfesis are very active in the community. The prominent power couple’s contributions continue to provide services and entertainment to the citizens of Fayetteville.

Andrew is a medical doctor and his wife, Gail, holds a Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice. He has a clinic, Owen Drive Surgical Clinic, where he performs surgery under local anesthesia.

“He still sees people for medical issues and surgery which is a great benefit to the community because things that can be safely done in the office is much cheaper for people,” said Gail Morfesis. “Even if you have insurance you still have to pay a co-pay and sometimes it is cost prohibitive to have things done, so people just try not to have them done even if it is painful or unpleasant.”

She added that two days a week her husband works for North Carolina Hyperbarics where they treat individuals with ulcers on their arms and legs.

Gail took an early retirement from UNC Pembroke in 2007, and since then she has been doing what she loves doing the most — directing and producing shows.

“I was contacted by the Crown Theatre last year to write an interactive murder mystery for them,” said Morfesis. “It was the first show I ever wrote and the play is based around songs because that is my background.”

The play is entitled “Love Letters/Sleight of Hand” and the plot of the play is quite intriguing. Gail shares, “It starts out with a karaoke theme and I am the main actress in the show. I am the older actress who starts an agency called “It’s All About You Agency” to promote young artists. During the years that I am doing this, I meet my husband who was performing at a club. I hired him to become part of the agency and then we get married. The plot of this is that he tries to take over the agency from me which is really a stable of young women singers. Of course due to his philandering, we never know which of the ladies that are in the cast of characters has actually killed him. At the end of the first act he is actually electrocuted by the karaoke machine, but anyone in the cast could have manipulated that. During the course of the story all of his interactions with different women comes out. It’s just a really fun show.”

The cast includes Gail, five female singers/actresses, and two police officer characters. At the end of the show it is revealed who committed the murder.

“The play is interactive so the audience gets to asks questions of the cast,” said Morfesis.

“We usually have a foreman at each table that gets to ask the question and during their dessert time they get to talk about why they think different characters may have done it as well as ask one question of one character.”

She added, “Each table will get to vote on who they think committed the murder and the tables that guess the correct character will win some kind of prize.”

Up & Coming Weekly is sponsoring the play. The performances are Friday, April 9 and Saturday, April 10 at 7 p.m. at Gates Four Golf & Country Club.

When not putting on shows, Gail works with many organizations in the community.

“I was asked by Hank Parfitt, president of the Lafayette Society of Fayetteville, to start doing a concert for them every year of French music to supplement Lafayette’s birthday weekend,” said Morfesis. “I have been doing a concert for them for the last 12 years and I do involve local artists in town and people that work for the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra.”

“Because of the Lafayette Society, I worked a good bit at Methodist University because Methodist houses the Lafayette Collection of artifacts and initially for the first ten years we did our concert and our artifacts display on the same night,” said Morfesis.

“It is kind of funny because I never really worked for Methodist but most people thought I did because I did those concerts there
every year.”

Gail has also worked with Dr. Marvin Curtis at Fayetteville State University performing lead roles for three years in the summer opera as well as directing shows for UNC Pembroke and the Gilbert Theater.

“I have sung with the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra in the past and at the Gilbert I directed and produced about five to six different shows there,” said Morfesis.

“I also worked with Fayetteville Technical Community College as their music director for some of their shows and also directed their choir two years ago when they were between instructors.”

She added, “I do a lot of work with civic organizations and I feel like you need to give back to your community so I have done work with Heritage Square. They were unable to do their annual Christmas Tour of Homes in December 2020, so I was the emcee for their one-hour video of the homes here in Fayetteville. I was called by The Care Clinic to help them with their upcoming wine and silent auction that will take place in May of this year. The Crown has contacted me to write another play for the fall of this year.”

So, what’s next on the horizon for Gail?

“I would like to start a company for up and coming theater people that I would like to call 'Femme Fatale' which means the deadly woman,” said Morfesis. “There’s a lot of talented women who have written shows and are really great actresses and I would like to continue seeing the work that I have done.”

“I try to work with as many organizations as I can to better the life of the people in the community,” said Morfesis. “If you really reach out and do something for people you will become a part of the community and you can do great things.”

Tickets for the Fayetteville Diner Theatre can be purchased at www.fayettevilledinnertheatre.com.

Local author shares writing strategies

26 rendering don kempBy age 90, most people are settling into their twilight years resting, relaxing and enjoying time free from work commitments. Donald Kemp is not most people. Kemp keeps busy with writing projects, a passion that began more than five decades ago.

A Fayetteville resident for 40 years, Kemp is originally from Michigan. His serious writing began in 1968 with a series of articles in a Rochester City newspaper about his own heart bypass surgery. The articles lead to his first published book “I Live With A Mended Heart.” At the time of his surgery, Cleveland Clinic was the only place to get have the procedure. Kemp’s book was inspired by his own procedure and his life in recovery.

Kemp has also produced other works such as articles for magazines and newspapers during his time living in Michigan. As well as writing, Kemp explored his story-telling ability by directing plays in California, which he describes as “an explosion of emotion to see what is in your mind come to life on a stage.”

His first full-length novel, “Rendering,” is a mystery thriller published in 2016. The inspiration behind this novel was a newspaper article about three inches high. The book took Kemp seven years to write. The book developed over time while he was participating in a writing group that met every two weeks. The group would “toss chapters over the hot coals,” Kemp recalls as a way of challenging authors. Since that experience, Kemp said he chooses to stick to shorter books and writing projects.

His next book “Senior Touring Society,” was published in 2018. It is a comedy about elders going to and from a stage play.
Kemp has also written three children’s books, specifically for his grandchildren. He wrote them each year that his military son was stationed at Fort Bragg so that he could read them to his grandchildren at Christmas.

With two books waiting to be published, Kemp doesn’t plan to slow down any time soon. He said he has a bunch of stories and ideas that he keeps organized on little slips of paper around his office.

Kemp offers one steadfast rule for aspiring authors: make time to write every day. “Even if it is one hour, or just writing notes, writing every day will get your ideas down on paper.”

Kemp also offers a tip he learned from reading one of his writing inspirations, Ernest Hemingway. Known for his economic prose, Hemmingway’s writing is minimalist with few adverbs or adjectives. Hemmingway made a special effort to write in simple and direct language. Kemp said he tries to follow that philosophy too.

Kemp’s book are available online in e-book and soft cover formats. For more information visit https://donkempauthor.com/

Editor April Olsen contributed to this article.

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